flying with children: a necessary evil

Parenting is one of those sacred things in life that gives God the ultimate opportunity to answer prayers like “humble me” and all those dumb prayers I think are good to pray.

Flying with young children is the ultimate opportunity to flush out all parenting pride in one single moment.  Yesterday as I tried explaining to my five year old that he wouldn’t enjoy the sweet habanero popcorn he had grabbed from the food cart in the middle of the airport, I overheard a man from behind the cash register yelling at someone to stop opening a package of food.  To my dismay, I realized that someone was my three year old son, who was in fact, tearing open a bag of very expensive dried apricots.  I threw the almost-opened bag on the counter along with my other hurried choices, sure that if my face wasn’t already sun-burned it would be showing an impressively bright mortified shade of red at that moment.

Traveling with kids is never usually enjoyable but I think that doing said travel in front of thousands of people- like in airports and airplanes- turns up the heat to a boiling point almost immediately.  It doesn’t help that I’ve long since loved airports for the people watching, thus I know that’s what people do.  People with children provide those people watchers with plenty of entertainment.  Alas.  I used to love flying…anywhere.  While there were a few high moments on our most recent trip across the country- such as standing in line to go thru security and enduring the woman’s glare behind us as she stared angrily at the thought of waiting for three tiny children and all their stuff to go through only to get a compliment from that same lady on the other side admitting she was impressed at how fast we slid through the line.  Hmm.  Or that time we didn’t have seats altogether so we had to ask a cranky lady if she wouldn’t mind switching with us (which she agreed to only after protest) and then complained again that we had the audacity to sit one of our children next to her (even tho it was the most well behaved one) …the high point being at the end of the six hour flight when she admitted we were right when we said ‘he would be good’.  Oh, did I mention she worked for the airline we were flying?  Hmm.

But mostly the low points overflowed.  Even when everything goes according to plan, plane rides with small children just aren’t easy.  I think it has to do with the fact that at any moment something can go wrong and there isn’t always a solution.  We brought a carseat on for Maya (stellar amazing game changer) except that her feet could touch the seat in front of her, so I had to literally hold her legs down or strong arm her legs into the air…for almost an hour.  She also threw up 3 times on the six hour flight and I only brought one change of clothes for her (that I never actually ended up changing- have you ever tried doing anything in airplane bathrooms?  I avoid them unless it’s a major poop blow out, hence why my poor daughter was soaking wet on a different plane ride/same trip- oops.)

My favorite *note the sarcasm* parts were when we spent time at the departure gates waiting to board.  Nothing makes you feel more despised than the looks people give as they watch your children slowly spin out of control.  You know they are thinking and hoping and praying they won’t be seated next to your hooligans.  But it’s a delicate balance to handle in those moments because I don’t want to force them to sit when they are required to sit for the next 6 hours…that’s where airport exercises come in.  Quite literally I had a session with the boys that included hundreds of jumping jacks, jumps, skips, etc.  Their energy spike may have been due to the fact that I gave them lemonade stupidly…or because when we boarded our plane it was their bedtime.  Hmm.

I was kicking myself for our decision to fly in the evening on the way out, but when I set my alarm for 3:45am for our flight back home I realized the beauty of evening flying.  I am not sure which is worse.  Plus, time changes are a bear, no matter which way it goes.

It’s amazing how perspective changes from the beginning of the trip to the end.  There’s only so much discipline that can be done without resulting in tears…most of which we try to avoid in public, because it’s usually accompanied by loud sad noises.  But on the way home, I did not care if my child was screaming loudly…it was worth it for him to know he was wrong.  He might hate elevators since they provided a private moment for correction- although I think that child didn’t like elevators to begin with.  Literally the first one we rode he was so petrified that he crawled across the opening to get inside (we were carrying three suitcases and a stroller between us so he was relegated to holding his brother’s hand- not so comforting)…sad and cute but you’d think riding in many would allow him to see the truth- hmm.

Occasionally I meet people who have never ridden on airplanes with their children and I’m slightly envious.  Why did I choose to live thousands of miles from my family?  Why is an airplane the only means of transportation?  Teleporting.  I want that.  But then I remember that I love my family and I’m so grateful that we have the finances and means to see them as often as we do.  All the insanity is worth it because of every minute I get to be with them.  And somehow each time we book another flight I have forgotten the most painful parts of the previous travel and can only feel the ache in my heart of wanting to see my people.  Plus I repeat ‘this is only a season’ about a billion times and dream about the future when all our kids will be diaperless and old enough to chill in confined spaces for long periods of time…and to our kiddos credit, they actually do fly quite well, all things considered.

We spent a week in one of the most beautiful places- Cannon Beach, Oregon.  It’s a place that feels like home to me.  We made memories and enjoyed one another a lot.  I can’t ask for anything more.  Until next time…

this shows how my kids really feel about family photos...

this shows how my kids really feel about family photos…

but they are troopers because grandma really likes photos...

but they are troopers because grandma really likes photos…

and we need something to remind us why flying is absolutely necessary.

and we need something to remind us why flying is absolutely necessary.

happy fathers day

I want my children to grow up and be who God has intended for them to be…but so often I find myself hoping and praying that they hold fast to the traits that make their father great.  I don’t want mini barts because I love their own unique personalities, but there are qualities I hope will stick.

Which ones you might wonder?

Honesty.  Bart is the most honest man I’ve ever known.  Trust is heavily linked to honesty obviously- and I love that he is so trustworthy.  He’s dependable and real and values truth so strongly.  Oh, I hope our children are that honest.

Humility.  Bart exudes humility even when he thinks he’s being prideful.  He might roll his eyes at this, but I’ve never met someone who desires humility more than he does.  He is constantly checking his heart and his motives- even when everything seems fine.

Righteous.  I don’t need our children to be perfect- Lord knows we aren’t.  But what I love about Bart is that he strives for righteousness.  He isn’t content to live status quo, or “good enough”…he is always looking for more.  He wants to go deeper in God because he knows that more God is more love and that lead to righteousness.

Humor.  If our children are half as hilarious as Barty, they are golden.  Not only does he have a genuine sense of how to make people laugh, he knows when to use it in the most serious of situations.  Laughter can diffuse so much tension and mend so much frustration in a moment.  He’s brilliant.  Our marriage is better because he’s funny.

Kindness.  It’s rare to find a man who is so in tune with what is going on around them.  I don’t mean to stereotype, but so many men are pretty aloof and they don’t see past what’s right in front of them.  This is a round about way to get to kindness, but I know that Bart’s heart for others stems from his sensitive heart- and the way he cares for others is so kind.   He is sweet and thoughtful and I already see this developing in my sons.  What a gift.

Servant.  I don’t know another man who serves his wife like Bart does.  While I wish I was the all american house wife of old, clearly I am not.  Bart cleans our house, does laundry, dishes, changes diapers and everything in between…plus his full time job.  He serves relentlessly and does so much without even being asked- he’s my hero.  I am so thankful that our children get to see such a wonderful example if they ever want to get married.

I could keep going and going…but I have many more fathers days to come.

You are my favorite Bart.  Happy Fathers Day my dearest!

And Happy Father’s Day to my own dad- the one I got so many qualities from myself.  I am so thankful you are my dad… I couldn’t have picked a better one.

Love, Krista

randomania #391

fisher kpriceI bought this ride on toy yesterday for my little girl.  It is the epitome of all things tacky and plastic that I never wanted in my house but heck…I.Don’t. Care.  Unfortunately for me, the other children in my house are way too interested in the thing too.  It’s the first Maya-only toy and it’s causing lots of angst.  It is also VERY loud with no off button that I can see.  What was I thinking?  Geez.  First rule of any battery operated toy…OFF BUTTON.

Thankfully I am sipping on Rook cold brew coffee so I have a tiny bit of sanity and the pool heater is on which means we may finally be able to swim today.  Sadly Bart is heading out to Chicago this afternoon for a quick work trip, so I’m flying solo.  As I watched him pull out his suitcase last night I was reminded of the entirely other-world experience of packing our family of five for our week long vacation in Oregon.  It hit me that the trip is less than 3 weeks away and while I’m super excited about seeing my family and the Oregon coast, the packing part looks like a giant black hole.  Alas.

In other news…Josiah’s birthday came and went.  It was an emotional one for me, and I’m just starting to realize why.  Five years is a big deal…and as people kept consoling me in my tears I kept shaking my head.  I wasn’t crying sad tears because he is growing up.  I’m crying happy tears because he’s growing up.   Of course, as I looked at the baby pictures and the beginnings of our adoption journey I cried thankful tears of all that God has done.  But mostly it hit me, I have a child who is finally at the age that I started loving children the most- my whole adult life was filled with jobs (camp counselor, elementary school teacher, assistant youth director) that included kids…but kids age five and older.  When I became a mom I knew that it would be very stretching to take care of young kiddos (and it has been!) but after age 5…BRING IT ON.  Of course, I realize that parenting this age will be vastly  different than just simply teaching the age, but STILL, I am so excited!!!

Also- basement update- all our inspections are done and now we work on saving money to afford an IKEA trip to furnish the place.  We did score a great leather sleeper couch from a friend at a serious deal so that was exciting.  I also framed over 25 family photos for a gallery wall I’ve been dreaming up since 1992…just kidding…but for a while now.  If you saw my bedroom in 1992 you’d cringe- right mom?  Let’s just say I was into “collage”. heheh.  Okay, random tangent.

It feels weird to be home on a Sunday morning, but with two out of three sniffly kids, I figured it wasn’t fair to bring them to the nursery… no matter how many times we watch sniffly kids in the nursery every month.  It’s also sad to be quarantined from play dates but it does give me lots of time to do things around the house- speaking of- I should do some laundry.

Peace out.

he is fives years old

DSC_0048Just the other day as I performed the infamous lick-my-finger-to-clean-off my daughter’s face, Josiah quickly and silently did the same to me- swiping his licked finger across my cheek with a sly grin creeping onto his face.  He does things like this all the time, knowing it will prompt a chuckle or a belly laugh.

At night he often sneaks from his bed to see if I’m laying in mine…then tests the waters with the brightest wattage smile he can muster- hoping to get an invite to cuddle.  Sometimes he doesn’t wait, because he knows my weakness- his little arm cradling my neck as he leans his head into mine…gahhh…I love it so much.  I love him so much.

I can trust my oldest son with so much already…he is amazingly honest and kind.  At five years old, he can check on his sister and keep his brother in line; he can feed our dog and keep anything clean.  He listens well and follows through.  I am so thankful he is our oldest…such a beautiful example of love for our entire family.

Josiah has the most tender heart.  He knows how to ask for forgiveness and he forgives and forgets so quickly…he often reminds me how to be like Jesus, just by being himself.  There is no judgement in him- his care and compassion for others is unmatched in our family.

I love that Josiah has become obsessed with coloring…and not just plain ol’ regular coloring.  No, it makes my heart leap to see what he does- I know this may sound so dumb, but when he creates patterns within the objects he colors and makes unique things from nothing…I just love it.

I love how he compliments without prompting.  I threw a baby shower a few weeks ago and when he saw the decorated table for the first time he exclaimed how beautiful it was.  He is such a sweet boy.  He loves to point out good qualities in people and finds joy in little things.  When Maya started saying his name, his smile grew so big…he constantly brings happy tears to my eyes.

I love the way his eyes sparkle and the way he still gets excited about anything.  I love his little “excuse me” and his inquisitive nature.  And it makes me so happy that he loves his birthday so much.  This year we are trying a new tradition and we’ll see if it’ll stick.  We hired a babysitter for the other two and decided to pick Jos up from school and take him on a big birthday adventure.  Who knows what all it will include…but for sure we are picking out a bike, getting ice-cream IN the store (with 3 little ones, we often get stuff to-go), and going out to eat at Red Robin (his choice).  We rarely get to spend time with just Josiah, so I’m super psyched.

Last night I laid in bed with tears streaming down my face as I looked through hundreds of baby pictures of my Josi-bear…you are so lovable…you make it easy to be your mom.  I am so proud of you.  I am so thankful for your beautiful life.  Happy fifth birthday my son.  I love you the most!!!

Forever,

Mommy

state of the union: krista farrell style

It’s time.  I gotta spew out all that is happening in the life of these farrell five… starting with:

I got two wisdom teeth pulled this week.  ARG.  It was that or a root canal in one of them, and I’d rather be knocked out so I went with the yanking.  Surprisingly it hasn’t been as painful of a recovery as I thought- but I’d rather be laying on a beach in the Caribbean.

Maya got out of her crib this morning.  Yes- I believe it’s insane that an 18 month old child can crawl out of their crib… my boys couldn’t even do it at three years old?!  She’s crazy.

I finally caved and ordered Birkenstocks.  I’ve wanted them for awhile…they remind me of my middle school days but I also believe I can rock em, old school style.  And I love them.

I successfully completed two full weeks of strict Whole30 before the wisdom teeth debacle… but I plan to jump back on the wagon next week.  It was going so well.

Our basement is finally seeing the light at the end of its tunnel.  And PHEW, my paint color choices actually turned out like I hoped they would.  I LOVE THEM.  Hopefully electric, hvac and plumbing will all be finished this week and then final inspections and carpet after that.  Can hardly believe it could be done so soon.

I have found a new favorite.  TheBouqs is a company that delivers fresh flowers simply and without all the extra costs.  It’s amazing.  I feel like I’m repeating myself here- so maybe I have written about this before.  But it’s awesome!  Try it out.

I cannot wait for Josiah’s school to be done.  I can tell I’m really gonna love summertimes.  He took this whole last week off, and it was glorious- minus the teeth yanking part.

We are gearing up for a big trip to IKEA- finally gonna purchase beds for our boys and many many other things for our basement.  I just wish there was someone who we could bring home with us to put everything together…then it would be perfect.

Ok, I gotta go paint a flamingo.

Repost: she chose life.

**in honor of mothers day…this is a repost that I wrote five years ago, about our first adoption experience and Josiah’s birth mom…**

Even though I’ve wanted to adopt for a long time, and the home study process and seemingly never-ending application process appeared to be overwhelming drawn out (ha! in actuality our 6 month start-to-finish process was nothing) I was not prepared for the birth mom experience.
When we started I remember thinking, “I don’t want to talk to the birth mom or anything” because in my naiveity I thought it would somehow take away from my attachment.  Fears crept in and I believed that my future child would reject me as his mother if I kept in touch with his birth mom.  Instead of trusting in the One who creates life, I had decided to develop my own reality that would seemingly “protect” me and my child.
Nothing could have been further from the truth…and even from the very first phone call shared between our birth mom and me; it was apparent- God loves this woman and wanted us to share in His compassion.  My heart went out to the 20 year old girl, who shared that her whole pregnancy had been stressful because of her family’s lack of support about her decision to give her baby up for adoption.  As she stated on her application, the only other option she considered was abortion and in the end “her faith” is what led her to carry this baby into the world- despite knowing how hard it would be to give him up, she chose life…she chose love.
After receiving the shocking “she’s in labor” call (3 weeks early)- I had 20 hours of driving to contemplate the situation and try to put myself in our birth mom’s shoes, if even just for a small glimpse.  God gave me such love for this woman I’d never met and when we finally walked into the hospital to meet her, I felt so connected that I couldn’t help but care about her.  She is a quiet, strong woman and I could tell from the moment I walked in that she was confident in her decision.  Immediately holding out her baby boy to place him in my arms was her simple yet resounding, “I trust you” and I was overwhelmed.
From the moment our child entered this world, he was wanted.  This was not a situation where his mom didn’t care- in fact, it was just the opposite.  She cared so much and knew, because of many reasons, that she could not provide for this baby well on her own.  Within the adoption world, this scenario is much more common- and something that I was not necessarily prepared for.  I hadn’t realized the reality behind many adoptions…the sacrifice and strength it takes to give your child up.
On the last day, after Josiah’s birth mom signed his papers and gave away her child, she asked to see us one last time.  With tears in her eyes, she stared up at us and simply said “Please tell him that I love him, and I did this because I love him.  Will you make sure he knows who I am, and that he knows that I care about him?”  As tear drops fell across my face, I nodded over and over…”of course, of course, we’ll tell him, we honor you, we are forever grateful to you…thank you…”  Then she opened her arms for a hug and we held her- so grateful for her decision, so unaware of anything else.
After praying for her and blessing her one more time…we walked out her hospital room door and the only thing I kept saying was “she’s amazing, isn’t she amazing?”  Her strength and beauty overwhelmed me and I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief as our son was brought to us moments later.  She chose us to love her little boy for the rest of his days.  She chose us to be his mom and dad.
She chose life.

five years ago…

Adoption has been on my mind a lot lately…and no, we aren’t gearing up quite yet for number four.  I just keep seeing families with babies or dreams of babies and it makes my heart leap.  Birth in any circumstance in such a beautiful phenomenon and I’m in awe each time I see a new face brought into this world.

My oldest son is turning five in a month and it is knocking the wind out of me.  I remember like it was yesterday getting the call that we had been chosen by his birth mom… feeling a combination of freak out, total peace, and pure joy.  They told me he was due in a month, but not even one week after the first phone call she went into labor and our sweet Josiah was born.

We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl until 6 hours after he arrived.  We drove all night from Kansas City to Jacksonville, Fl on pure adrenaline…I literally drove 15 hours straight.  We were going to be parents.  A precious woman was deciding her son’s path as we drove those 22 hours full of hope and anxiety.  I still cannot believe she chose us.

Etched in my memory is the phone call we received around 7am, while still on the road.  “It’s a boy!  He’s here!”  She asked if we had a name, and we gave the one that God had spoken into Bart’s ear three years before…Josiah would be our first born son.  We tore open a Bible and started reading all the parts about Josiah as we barreled down the highway, trying desperately not to speed.  Tears of joy fell down my face, over and over, as I let myself imagine for the first time, what it would be like to have a son.

Little did I know what an incredible little boy we were given.  I could not have asked for a more precious and beautiful soul to care for as I began my journey of motherhood.  Even though I’d worked with kids forever, it was rough out of the starting gate.  I stumbled and fell and cried selfish woes…but my son smiled through it all.

I love to love my son.  He is one of a kind.*

*saving the rest of my gushing for his birthday post next month.